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The date given by the annalist is feria quinta ante Pascha, post prandium, that is, on Thursday, 3rd April, since in 1203 Easter Day fell on 6th April. On this day, according to the itinerary drawn up by Duffus Hardy, John was in Rouen. 1 Easter is also given by Matthew Paris as the time of year to which French gossip ascribed the murder.2
A few days later, John sent a letter from Falaise to his mother and the distinguished men of the south, in which M. Richard has seen, I think with much probability, a veiled allusion to the fate of Arthur. It is worth giving in full:
Rex ete. Regine matri et domino Burdegalensi archiepiscopo et R. de Thornham senescallo Pictavie et M. Algeis senescallo Wasconie et Petragorum et B. senescallo Andegavie et H. de Burgo camerario et fratri Petro de Vernolio et Willelmo Maingo et Willelmo Coco salutem. Mittimus ad vos fratrem Johannem de Valerant qui vidit ea que circa nos geruntur et qui vos de statu nostro poterit certificare cui fidem habeatis in hiis que inde vobis dixerit et tamen gratia Dei melius stat nobis quam ille vobis dicere possit et de missione quam vobis fecimus fidem habeatis eidem Johanni in hiis que inde vobis dicet. Et vobis R. de Thornham mandamus quod pecuniam quam vobis transmittimus
1. As Miss Norgate has pointed out, William the Breton errs in saying that John spent three days at Moulineaux, a ducal manor few miles down the river, before the murder; but it is noteworthy that he was at Moulineaux on the day before (April 2nd) and also on the 7th and 8th (Angevin Kings, II, 430). Minor discrepancies between the two authori. ties are to be noted : according to the Margam annalist the murder was committed in the castle (in turre Rothomagensi) and the body was afterwards taken to the boat; according to William the Breton, John slew Arthur by night in the boat.
2. Hist. Anglorum, ii, 95. 3. Comtes de Poitou, ii, 425.
non dividatis nisi per visum et consilium matris nostre et Willelmi Coci. Teste Willelmo de Braosa apud Faleis xvj die Aprilis.
The business of the court at Easter had been important, and John may have been encouraged to broach the question of Arthur's fate, as the story in William the Breton rather implies, and finally to have taken the matter into his own hands. Geoffrey Fitz Peter, the English justiciar, was with the king at Moulineaux on the Wednesday :2 his rare and fleeting visits were doubtless the occasion of conference upon public affairs. On the same day John confirmed the administrative measures taken by Guy of Thouars, late count of Brittany, in the honor of Richmond. 3 Moreover, about the same time the king heard that negotiations for an understanding with Castile had been successful. It throws some light on the man's character, that he should steal away from the consideration of such high matters on the eve of Good Friday, to commit the crime which, more than any other, was to bring about his ruin.
NOTE A. Arthur's HOMAGE, 1202. I. March 27, 1202, Andeli. Letter from King John to
Arthur demanding his presence and service (Rot. Pat., 7b).
Rex dilecto nepoti suo Arturo etc. Mandamus vobis summonentes vos quod sitis ad nos apud Argentan in octabis Pasche, facturi nobis quod facere debetis ligio domino vestro. Nos autem libenter faciemus vobis quod
1. Rot. Pat., 28b.
2. Ibid, 27b. He attests a confirmation of a judgment which had been delivered in the court at Westminster.
3. Rot. Pat., 27.
4. Letter to the archbishop of Bordeaux and others of April 5th (Rot. Pat., 27b, 28). Compare the references to arrangements with the count of Nevers and the chamberlain of Flanders on the 4th and 7th April, in Rotuli de Liberate, p. 29.
fecere debemus caro nepoti nostro et ligio homini nostro. Teste me ipso apud Andeliacum, xxvij die Marcii. II. July, 1202, Gournai. Letters of Arthur announcing
that he has done homage to King Philip, and entered into an agreement with him.
(Original, sealed with Arthur's seal, in Trésor des chartes, J. 241, Brittany; edit. Teulet, Layettes du
trésor des chartes, i, p. 236, No. 647). Arturus dux Britannie et Aquitanie, comes Andegavie et Cenomannie, universis ad quos littere presentes pervenerint salutem. Noveritis quod ego feci karissimo domino meo Philippo regi Francie illustri hominagium ligium, contra omnes qui possunt vivere vel mori, de feodo Britannie, et de Andegavensi, et de Cenomannensi, et de Turonensi, quando, Deo volente, ipse vel ego predicta acquisierimus, salvis omnibus teneamentis de quibus ipse dominus rex et homines sui tenentes erant eo die quo ipse diffiduciavit Johannem regem Anglie pro interceptionibus quas ei fecerat de hac ultima guerra, de qua ipse obsedit Botavant, tali modo quod, quando ego recipiam hominagia de Andegavia, et de Cenomannia et de Turonia, ego recipiam hominagia illa, salvis conventionibus inter ipsum et me factis; ita quod, si ego resilierim conventionibus inter ipsum et
factis, ipsi cum feodis suis ibunt ad dominum regem et ipsum juvabunt contra me. Insuper autem de dominio Pictavie feci eidem domino meo regi hominagium ligium, si Deus dederit quod ipse vel ego eam quocumque modo acquisieri
Barones vero Pictavie, qui imprisii domini regis sunt, et alii quos ipse voluerit, facient ei hominagium ligium de terris suis contra omnes qui possunt vivere vel mori, et de precepto ipsius facient mihi hominagium ligium, salva fide ejus. Si autem illustris rex Castelle in terra aliquid juris clamaverit, per judicium curie domini nostri regis Francie diffinietur, si ipse dominus noster rex Francie predictum regem Castelle et me de utriusque nostrûm assensu non poterit pacificare. De Normannia sic
erit: quod ipse dominus noster rex Francie hoc quod acquisivit et de eo quod Deus ipse dabit acquirere, ad opus suum retinebit quantum sibi placuerit, et hominibus suis, qui pro ipso terras suas amiserunt, dabit id quod sibi placuerit de terra Normannie. Actum apud Gornacum, anno Domini M° CC° secundo, mense julio.
NOTE B. John's LETTERS OF FEBRUARY, 1204, TO THE
CLERGY AND LAITY IN IRELAND. The following letter, which was endorsed upon the Charter Roll, 5 Joh. m. 15, (Rotuli Chartarum, ed. Hardy, 133b–134) was sent from Nottingham on February 10, 1204, to the clergy and laity in Ireland. It is important as giving an official version of the political situation after the king's return from Normandy. John calls upon the inhabitants of Ireland, not as a right (non consuetudinarie sed amicabiliter), to join the English in offering aid against the king of France. The following points in the letter should be noted. First, John refers with gratification to his reception in England and to the efforts which were made by the English on his behalf (see above, p. 392). Secondly, he emphasises the critical nature of the situation ; he is not despondent but his needs are urgent. Other evidence shows that John was in no hurry, but, so far as this letter goes, it strengthens the view that he was planning a serious campaign in Normandy, and that his plans were interrupted by Philip's rapid and unexpected success. Thirdly, John speaks in general terms of his exhereditatio. The reference throws some light upon the problems discussed in this Appendix. The words used by the king, namely, that Philip, contrary to his charter and oath, continued to seek his deprivation, recall the similar
1. It should be noted, on the other hand, that the word exhereditatio had a very general meaning, as in the Vita S. Hugonis, p. 248, where the Archbishop of Canterbury is reported to have said in 1197 that Philip aimed at the exhereditatio of Richard. The word, however, is very rare in official correspondence, and seems to me to be used in a more judicial sense by John. See also above, p. 461, the phrase "per judicium exheredatus.”
words used on July 7, 1202, to the Cistercian abbots (Rot. Pat., 14; above, p. 220).
John had written to the Cistercians immediately after Philip had broken the treaty of 1200 in pursuance of a judgment given against John by the French court. In this later letter, of February 1204, John implies that Philip's campaign in 1203-4 was simply a continuation of his policy in 1202; in other words, it strengthens M. Bémont's contention that Normandy was included in the condemnation of 1202, and also my view that it is useless to look for evidence for or against the second condemnation in the records of 1203. Fourthly, John suggests a distinction in this letter between the service owed by the English across the English Channel and the voluntary aid which he hoped to receive from the clergy and laity of Ireland.
Rex, etc, archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatibus, prioribus, archidiaconis et universo clero per Hiberniam constitutis salutem. Satis nostis sicut et totus mundus qualiter Rex Francie contra Deum et rationem et contra cartam suam et juramentum nos warrare et exhereditationem nostram querere non cessat. Nos autem propter hoc venimus in Angliam gratia Dei sani et incolumes, ubi omnes de regno Anglie nos honorifice receperunt sicut dominum, qui liberaliter et benigne habita consideratione ad urgentissimum negotium nostrum nobis efficax faciunt auxilium, tam in veniendo corporaliter in servicium nostrum quam de militibus et pecunia. Quia igitur instat ista necessitas, qua nunquam nobis major emersit aut emergere poterit, vos non consuetudinarie sed amicabiliter rogamus quatinus sicut de vobis confidimus, et sicut nos et honorem nostrum diligitis, efficax nobis auxilium faciatis in hoc necessitatis nostre articulo sicut dilecti et fideles nostri justiciarius Hibernie, w. de Lascy, archidiaconus Staffordie, et alii nuncii nostri
1. Cf. Rot. Pat., 41b, for the presence of this favourite clerk in Ireland early in 1204.